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noun, plural ci·vil·i·ties.
  1. courtesy; politeness.
  2. a polite action or expression: an exchange of civilities.
  3. Archaic. civilization; culture; good breeding.

Origin of civility

1350–1400; Middle English civilite < Middle French < Latin cīvīlitāt- (stem of cīvīlitās) courtesy. See civil, -ity
Related formso·ver·ci·vil·i·ty, noun

Synonyms for civility

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1. affability, amiability, manners, tact. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for civility


noun plural -ties
  1. politeness or courtesy, esp when formal
  2. (often plural) an act of politeness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for civility

late 14c., "status of a citizen," from Old French civilite (14c.), from Latin civitatem (nominative civitas) "the art of governing; courteousness," from cvilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous" (see civil). Later especially "good citizenship" (1530s). Also "state of being civilized" (1540s); "behavior proper to civilized persons" (1560s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper